Mavs Shootaround Notebook

How's Big Wood? Tyson talking about 'playing smart.' 'The Janitor' has a moment. A lighter side to Mavs Shootaround on Sunday in preparation for the 7 p.m. tip of Game 3 of the NBA Finals at the AAC ... and yes, of course, DB.com is there. Join us!



SCENE-SETTING: When caught in the litter of reporters spilling through a narrow corridor onto the main court in the American Airlines Center, where the Mavs were finishing up their game-day shootaround, it was easy to feel the shift in atmosphere from the prior day. Gone were the setups of extra podiums, and gone were a large number of the media masses, though plenty remained.

If you were looking, there remained bountiful proof that the Finals were in town, such as a large video screen with the Finals logo serenading you as you made your way into the darkness of the corridor towards the light of the court beyond, or the plentiful banners in and around the arena.

On the court, the team was as they always are: loose, but not too loose.

There was the standard half-court shot contest in the waning minutes of the shootaround, this time won by Brian Cardinal … who politely declined to be interviewed on the subject to any media who were listening (which may have been comprised of DB.commers and … well, a few of his teammates).

Here's the battle royale:



BIG WOOD'S STATUS: Essentially it is unchanged. He is that he is a "game-time decision," per Rick Carlisle.

As he left the court, Big Wood did give a one-word answer when asked if he was feeling the same, "Yes."

This response likely removes the possibility that there was a miracle over-night cure, and the odds are pretty good that we'll see Ian Mahinmi, Brian Cardinal, or any other names Carlisle may plan to use in Haywood's stead.

Knowing the status of his backup, both Carlisle and Chandler stressed his need to stay out of foul trouble in Game 3.

"I just got to be smart about my fouls in situations," Chandler said. "Still got to be aggressive. Still going to challenge shots, but, you know, going for pump fakes and that kind of stuff, I got to be smart about that."

THE COMEBACKS: It's easy to understand why, but a topic the media returned to again and again was this team's ability to stage improbable comebacks, including three from at least 15 points down in the second half, two of those well into the fourth quarter.

There was the 16-point third-quarter deficit erased in Game 1 against the Lakers, then the two 15-point deficits against the Thunder and Heat overcome in about five and seven minutes respectively.

The players were quick in their attempts to move away from that game, while continuing to embrace any lessons that may have been learned, echoing the sentiments from Jason Kidd, "Well, hopefully we can build on that."

Chandler was asked what he believed helped the Mavs undertake their most recent return from the brink of a sure loss.

"I think we were more keyed in defensively on staying in front of guys, communicating," Chandler said. "There was no guessing. There was no reaching or anything, we just played solid defense. On the offensive end, we just spread the floor out and played … when we kind of freelance out there and just play basketball it's harder for them to setup."

MAVSELLANEOUS: After committing 20 turnovers that directly led to a Miami playoff-franchise record 31 points, giveaways were paramount in the minds of the Mavs. After Game 1, improving their rebounding was a united theme from the mouths of Dallas. Entering Game 3, that theme has been edited to include cutting down on their turnovers. ... First place we ever saw this number? DB.com Boards. But now it's everywhere: Chris Bosh has never won a game in his hometown of Dallas. He's 0-8 lifetime. ... Carlisle on the carryover of a huge win: "Game 2 is over. We've got to wash that out and understand that we're going to have to play a great game in our building."

THE LIGHTER SIDE: Perhaps inspired by continually hearing the term "aggression," the packs of media may have been a little too quick, as Carlisle, Chandler and Kidd were all caught before they could completely make their way off the actual court.

This caused errant shots to be in danger of landing on the backs or heads of media members facing the opposite direction (and yes, we got it, too, though in the back shoulder, not the head).

As Tyson Chandler's media session wrapped up, and a request had politely been made of him to remove his media group from the floor, he joked, "I'm like Verizon, I got a crew behind me."

*Darrell Armstrong and Corey Brewer took part in a shooting contest after most had left the court.

"I put (Armstrong) back in retirement," Brewer seemed to start the contest with, though it would be Armstrong who hit his shots, including a half-court attempt, appearing to end it with a victory.

THE FINAL WORD: We'll leave this to a nice quote from Chandler.

"We're never going to give up," Chandler said. "You know, regardless of situation, regardless of the score, you know we're going to play to the finish."




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